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Learning Outcomes

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A learning outcome is a statement of what the learner is expected to know, understand, or be able to do on successful completion of the module or the entire programme.

Guidelines for inclusive learning outcomes

Formulation:

Learning outcomes should:

  • incorporate a suitable action word that captures a means of demonstrating the acquisition of knowledge, skill or competency.

Video tutorial: This video guides you when evaluating your learning outcomes for inclusivity. Video length: 2 minutes 17s


The Bologna Desk offers feedback to College staff engaged in writing learning outcomes. Following the advise of the Bologna Desk will enable to creation of well-expressed, inclusive, learning outcomes.

Alignment

Use learning outcomes to choose your teaching and assessment methods:

  • choose teaching methods that will reach your outcomes.
  • choose assessment methods that will demonstrate how well learning outcomes have been achieved.
  • communicate to students how learning outcomes align to teaching and assessment methods so they can use learning outcomes as a clarifying tool.

Learning outcomes can help staff members to choose appropriate teaching, learning, and assessment strategies. This is known as critical alignment. When there is alignment, course content reflects learning outcomes, teaching methods are chosen to reach outcomes, and assessment is designed specifically to judge if and how well the learning outcomes have been achieved by the students. Aligned learning outcomes offer students insight into the methods of teaching and assessment they can expect on a programme or module and allows for more informed choices regarding which programmes and modules will suit their interests, strengths, and needs.

Necessary Barriers

If your learning outcomes exclude anyone (e.g. students with specific disabilities):

  • ensure these barriers are necessary and amend if not.

Not all barriers to learning are unnecessary however.

For example,

  • if a learning outcomes sought for students to demonstrate their ability to complete an experiment this could be an unnecessary barrier because the physical activity is not a necessary element of the module. Instead it was a means of demonstrating a theoretical understanding.
  • However, in other courses the physical activity could be a central element. For example, a dentist must be physically able to fill a cavity; a musician must be physically able to play their instrument. Hence, learning outcomes will sometimes include necessary barriers, particularly on professionally accredited courses.

As a rule, where a learning outcome disadvantages any students, it must be very carefully defined and capable of being defended.

Trinity examples of Good Practice Learning Outcomes

Below are examples of learning outcomes that have gained approval by College and are inclusive in nature, from the Msc in International Management.

Good Practice Example from the Msc in International Management:

 

Articulate the ethical dimensions of international management in both the public and private sectors of society and apply this knowledge effectively in international management and research contexts tick

This uses both a suitable action word and is couched in broad and generic term so that is does not create any unnecessary barriers to learning for any student.

 

However, this outcome would not gain approval from College IF it had been phrased:

Be aware of the ethical dimensions of international management in both the public and private sectors of society and apply this knowledge effectively in international management and research contexts red x

This lacks a suitable action word. How does one demonstrate and measure 'awareness of''?

Or

Orally present on the ethical dimensions of international management in both the public and private sectors of society and apply this knowledge effectively in international management and research contexts red x

This is unnecessarily restrictive as it is written in a way that necessitates the ability of orally present. This, for example, could exclude students with speech impairments and is neither a useful learning outcome nor is it inclusive.